Basic Swimming Pool Water Chemistry Components

by Pool Builders on 03-31-2013 in Articles

Proper maintenance of the swimming pool water chemistry in your home is vital to keep it clean and safe for everyone to enjoy as well as keep your cost of ownership low. Maintaining the ideal levels of chemicals in your swimming pool allows you to save time and money. For that, the following details below are the factors to consider if you want to know the fundamentals of having a well balanced water chemistry.

Total Alkalinity

The reason why total alkalinity should be properly maintained is that it can greatly affect the pH level in the water. Without proper alkalinity balance, the pH level may consistently fluctuate. You can increase water's alkalinity by using a sodium bicarbonate solution and you can decrease the level by adding muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. The desired range for alkalinity is 100-150 ppm or parts per million.

pH Level

The pH level is another factor you must consider when maintaining your swimming pool water chemistry. If the pH level is not well balanced, swimmers may experience common discomforts and chlorine becomes useless. It can also cause your equipment to deteriorate quickly and eventually need replacement prematurely because it will shorten their life span. You can increase the pH level (make it more alkaline) by adding caustic soda or soda ash. Conversely, you can decrease the pH level (make it more acidic) by adding sodium bisulfate. The desirable pH level ranges from 7.2 to 7.6.

Chlorine Compounds

The moment you add chlorine solution in the water its strength percentage becomes dependent to the pH level of the water. With 7.0 pH level, 75% of chlorine is active hypochlorous acid. With a 7.5 pH level the activity of chlorine drops to 48%. At the undesirable pH level of 8.0, chlorine activity is only 22%. The proper range of chlorine for your swimming pool water chemistry is 1.0 to 3.0 ppm.


When the chlorine compounds react with contaminants in the water, such as with ammonia and organic nitrogen compounds, chloramines are eventually formed. Essentially, the chlorine becomes useless as a disinfectant. As well, they are often the culprit of most eye irritation and odor problems. Chloramines can eliminated easily by simply adding 10 ppm of free available chlorine compounds per ppm of chloramines. Using some other shocking agents can also be helpful.

Cyanuric Acid Level

Cyanuric acid or CYA is a stabilizing compound that prevents chlorine from being destroyed by the sun. If the level of CYA is too high, chlorine will eventually lose its sanitizing effect. To keep chlorine active, CYA levels should be maintained no higher than 40 ppm.

Amount of Dissolved Solids

Basically, this factor refers to all the solid materials dissolved in your pool water. As the water is being reused and chemical are being added, loads of hazardous materials develop and cause adversarial effects on your swimming pool water chemistry. If this problem occurs, your only resort is to drain and refill your pool with fresh, clean water. The proper range of total dissolved solids should not be more than 1,500 ppm.


Temperature may not necessarily affect your swimming pool water chemistry. However, it is important to make any swimming experiences enjoyable and refreshing. For typical enjoyment, the ideal temperature range is around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Those are the factors that you ought to consider with regards to your swimming pool water chemistry. The key towards maximum enjoyment of your pool is to keep all the chemicals at their desirable and allowable levels so it is safe for everyone.

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